Summer tends to be one of the most fun times of the year. Vacations, kids out of school, and summer romances all peak in the middle of the season during the month of July. With plenty of inspiration to draw on, there’s no surprise that various artists have written tracks about the happenings of the summer month. In this article, we’ll dive into the 21 best songs out there about July.
1. 4th of July – U2
You might expect U2 to write an incredible political song about freedom—or lack thereof—titled Fourth Of July, but this track has absolutely nothing to do with the American holiday or even the summertime as a whole. It’s entirely dedicated to The Edge’s daughter Hollie, as the fourth of July happens to be her birthday. You can hear this one on their The Unforgettable Fire album.
2. 4th of July – Soundgarden
Soundgarden is familiar with apocalyptic themes, and 4th Of July is rife with them. The song isn’t actually about Independence Day; it seems to be about the end of the world. In the track, the narrator sees lights in the sky that remind him of fireworks on the actual 4th of July holiday. It also seems a bit disjointed and almost rambling, which makes sense as Chris Cornell revealed that the inspiration for the song came during an acid trip.
3. July – Sir Chloe
One thing about summer flings that is always true is that they end. It’s almost unheard of for a relationship like that to last beyond the end of summer, let alone turn into anything serious. It’s something that tends to be inevitable, just as unstoppable as the season changing or time continuing to pass.
That’s the message summed up in July by Sir Chloe. The song compares the end of the month to the end of a relationship, wallowing in the sadness of the end drawing near despite knowing it would happen and that it’s probably for the best.
4. Fourth of July – Fall Out Boy
July is the peak of summer romance. You had time to find someone at this point and the end of the season is too far away to care about. It’s pure, romantic, and even explosive. Fall Out Boy perfectly sums up both a summer romance and the explosive nature of the Fourth of July holiday in their song Fourth Of July. The track itself is a bit jarring, making use of odd timing and complex structure that is very much intended to mimic the complicated emotional nature of a summer fling.
5. Even – Julien Baker
Explosive isn’t a good word to describe relationships. It tends to mean that you either burst too early and flame out, or there’s an explosive anger there that sours things for both parties. The Fourth of July’s famous fireworks come into play again here as a powerful metaphor and setting for a romantic conflict that verges on abusive. Julien Baker’s Even implies that the romantic dynamic is much like the explosives set off during the holiday and that a dramatic end is in store for the young couple.
6. July – Noah Cyrus
Noah Cyrus’s July plays on the themes we just discussed heavily, but never actually mentions the month in the lyrics. Instead of telling the story of a passionate summer fling gone wrong, it is simply about a relationship that’s about to end and uses the month—and accompanying fling expectations—as a metaphor for that end.
They want the breakup to happen but are paralyzed by fears of change and not knowing if they can actually leave the other person. Like most summer flings, what they have will inevitably collapse, but that doesn’t make breaking up any easier.
7. Cold Day in July – The Chicks
For most people in the Northern Hemisphere, July is one of the hottest months of the year. It’s the middle of the summer and cold days almost never happen. That’s the reason the protagonist’s boyfriend in Cold Day In July said it would be a cold day in July before he left her. But while he meant to tell her that he would never leave her, he eventually did.
The Chicks’ narrator thinks to herself that now that they’ve broken up, today must be a cold day in July. She’s left confused by the sudden end of the relationship, and the song is a very sad one.
8. July – Beach Bunny
I’ve already said here that summer flings ending is inevitable, though this song might make you question that statement. Whether or not the couple in the track ends things is left out, so it’s up to the listener to decide. But throughout July, Beach Bunny describes them as being so in tune with their fun time and each other that they nearly melt into the month. Thankfully, this one doesn’t wind up ending in an explosion of fire like some of the others, but it will leave you wondering if the couple figured out a way to keep things going.
9. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen often has hidden meanings in his songs and a darker undercurrent that doesn’t always appear in the lyrics clearly. A great example of this is in 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) as the main character Sandy is less of a single woman and more of a conglomeration of all the women he knew in his hometown. In the end, this track served as something of a goodbye from him to New Jersey, with the Fourth of July events serving as a metaphor for all the good times he found while there.
10. 4th of July – Kelis
The second single from Kelis’ fifth album Flesh Tone, 4th Of July was the song that really helped her show how big a musical range she had. The track is all about longing to have someone special in your life and the explosions of the fireworks represent how powerful those emotions become when you find them.
11. July, July! – The Decemberists
Weird experiences will shape the way you view the world. Sometimes, they’re a big event that’s out of the norm, and other times, they’re a situation you find yourself in. After Colin Meloy spent one particular July living in a—slightly—renovated slaughterhouse in Portland, he could never look at the month of the year the same way again. July, July! paints an incredibly vivid and detailed vision of that time in his life, but whether he was truly hunted by the ghosts of all the dead chickens or not, we may never know for sure.
12. July Flame – Laura Veirs
As a writer, I can tell you that writer’s block is a real thing. Sometimes, it’s hard to get out of it, but the weirdest and most random things tend to be the most helpful in finding inspiration. To an outsider, it seems ridiculous, but to you, it makes perfect sense. Laura Veirs was going through a bad case of writer’s block when she went to a farmers market and spotted a special type of peach. It was named July Flame, and that name inspired her to write not just this song but the rest of her seventh studio album.
13. Mississippi in July – Charlie Worsham
Charlie Worsham frequently takes trips back to his hometown and catches up with all the people he knows. After seeing in the newspaper that several of his friends got married on his return trips, he wound up writing Mississippi In July.
Summer weddings are common because you tend to get decent weather. But this song focuses more on a man seeing his former lover getting married and wondering to himself what could have been between her and him if he hadn’t screwed it up. It’s a bit sad, but it’s something a lot of people can surely relate to.
14. One Hot July – Tony Joe White
One Hot July by Tony Joe White is a fun song about getting in trouble in the summertime. The singer seems to be taking a privileged woman out on the town but wants to temper her expectations because, while she has a wild streak, they come from different worlds.
15. Fourth of July – Sufjan Stevens
Annual grief is a real condition that many people struggle with. When someone is incredibly important to you, it can be hard to let them go. Losing them sours everything around at the time, from the time of year to the things going on at the time that would normally be fun.
Sufjan Stevens paints one of the best descriptions of those feelings in Fourth Of July. After losing a loved one in July, the fireworks, fireflies, and time of year all just bring back sad memories. And while the song is primarily about losing his mother, it remains a universal track that might be something you can relate to on your own no matter who you’ve lost in your life.
16. July Morning – Uriah Heep
July Morning isn’t for the faint of heart, as its total runtime is well over 10 minutes. The song describes a man who wakes up on a random July morning with more motivation than I think I’ve ever had in my life. He decides he wants to find his true love and sets out on a journey to do so. The ‘love’ he seeks can be interpreted in several different ways, from romantic love to finding a purpose in life or just chasing the things he’s passionate about.
17. Fourth of July – Mariah Carey
She took over Christmas, but what about the summertime? Mariah Carey’s Fourth Of July was one of the songs on her Butterfly album that propelled it to the top of the charts and kept it there for more than a year. While it wasn’t ever released from the album as a single, it remains a heartwarming tale of falling in love under the fireworks. It’s not a complicated track by any means, nor is it something that deserved to be a single over the other tracks on the album but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great song about July.
18. When the Rain Tumbles Down in July – Slim Dusty
Australian weather can get pretty crazy during the wet season. Floods are common, especially in the Macleay Valley where Slim Dusty is from. When The Rain Tumbles Down In July was his first commercial recording, describing the nature of the season during the 30s and 40s when he was growing up in the area.
19. The 5th of July – Owl City
Owl City’s Adam Young was born on July 5th, and this song describes the way his birthday has shaped his view of the month. Like anyone born within days of a holiday like Christmas, the holidays tend to overshadow your birthday. The track has a faint glimmer of sadness that’s mostly held back by the shimmering layer of nostalgia for the month he seems to have. In the end, this song is perfect for anyone with a birthday in July.
20. 4th of July – Shooter Jennings
Some of the best tracks out there come from what many would consider weird inspiration or when the artist isn’t actually trying. Shooter Jennings wrote 4th Of July as a satirical song, meant to make fun of specific types of country music that had been cropping up in recent years. According to him, everyone started sounding the same, so this was his shot at doing something similar while making fun of it in his own mind.
21. Black Day in July – Gordon Lightfoot
Not every day in July is a good one, but they are always memorable. Black Day In July by Gordon Lightfoot covers the Detroit Race Riots that resulted in major violence between the Detroit Police Department and Black residents. The result of the conflict was 43 deaths, one of the worst riots in the history of the country.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.